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Ask Dr. Arthritis: Can I Wear Compression Sleeves 24/7?

Ask Dr. Arthritis: Can I Wear Compression Sleeves 24/7?

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For whatever reason that you wear compression sleeves, you probably already know the benefits that they can offer.

Athletes and sports enthusiasts know that they’re great for support and helping your muscles recover. Others rely on them to deliver relief for conditions like arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or Raynaud’s. But what exactly do compression sleeves do?

Compression products such as sleeves and socks basically help blood circulate more efficiently to prevent soreness and relieve pain. But while it’s great for daily use, many wonder if it’s advisable to wear compression sleeves or socks round-the-clock, or even to bed.

Here’s our advice: it basically comes down to the fit of the sleeve…but there are critical things to remember.

For starters, yes compression products such as sleeves are meant to provide a level of pressure on the affected area. But it shouldn’t be tight enough that it becomes uncomfortable.

Check for these three things:

1. Is it tight enough that it delivers a decent amount of compression on the affected area?

2. Is it so tight that it leaves heavy, uncomfortable indentations on the edges of the sleeve?

3. Does the fit allow you to move your limbs comfortably?

If it’s a good fit, you should feel enough compression that it brings relief to the affected area, but the edges of the sleeve should not dig uncomfortably in your skin. You should also still be able to move your hands, feet, arms or legs comfortably.

Second, compression sleeves are best used for extended periods of time, on the premise that they are the right size and fit. Graduated compression works best when you are in motion by delivering the right kind of pressure so that you are able to move around easily throughout the day.

This leads us to the most commonly asked question about compression garments: can you wear compression sleeves or socks to bed?

There aren’t strict rules on whether you can or cannot sleep in compression sleeves or socks or even just keep them on for bed. Our advice however is, should you want to wear or keep your compression sleeve or socks on when you go to bed, be sure to consult with your physician. Not all people require compression therapy while they sleep. When you’re lying down and your circulatory system doesn’t have to fight gravity, the additional pressure applied to certain body parts may just work to prevent proper circulation while you’re immobile.

One last thing…

Extra tight compression can be counter-intuitive to the sleeve’s purpose as it can constrict blood flow. In a lot of cases, there’s a lot of trial-and-error involved as you find the right fit.

This is why it’s important that you purchase from a trusted brand with a long-standing history of good customer service so they can assist you through the whole process and answer any questions you may have.

To browse options for compression sleeves, visit  through our store and check out our selection of sleeves and braces. All our products also come with a booklet with a detailed series of exercises designed to maintain joint health.

DR. ADAM GUNASEKARA MBBS BSc (Hons)

DR. ADAM GUNASEKARA MBBS BSc (Hons)

Medically reviewed by Dr Adam Gunasekara. He is the Co-Founder of Doctor Arthritis. He graduated from The Imperial College London with an MBBS (MD) - The article was written by the Dr. Arthritis Editorial Team.

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